The Royal Parks team in Richmond Park produces a monthly diary (July issue below) which is displayed on the Park's public noticeboards.
If you are a member of the Friends and would like to receive these monthly diaries by email, please send your name and email address to Roy Berriman at email@example.com
July in Richmond Park
Ride London The Park's roads and car parks will be closed on Sunday August 4 so that the Park can form part of the route for this major cycling event.
Between 7am and 10am 20,000 cyclists will pass through the Park as they follow the 100-mile route. They will enter at Sheen Gate and cycle via Richmond Gate before heading out of Kingston Gate. In the afternoon 150 top-level professional riders will leave the Olympic Park at 12.45 and follow the same route.
Spectators are welcome. They are advised to consider their travel arrangements carefully as cars and cyclists that are not participating in the event will not be allowed on the route. The best views will be available to those who get to the Park early and walk deep into the Park. Viewing near the entrances becomes limited and if a crowd builds up, late-comers may not get a road-side view. For more information please see www.prudentialridelondon.co.uk
Bracken control Bracken is a fern that spreads by underground ‘rhizomes’, gradually increasing in area every year. It shades out other species and becomes a dense monoculture that compromises the wildlife value of the Park. Left unchecked, bracken would take over the Park’s grassland by about 1-2 hectares a year.
Starting in July, the Park's Shire horse team roll large areas of bracken to crush the stems and weaken the plant. Over time the bracken becomes increasing small and space and grassland is re-created.
This year contractors will also be controlling bracken by herbicide in areas that are more difficult for the horses to work. The herbicide used only effects ferns and is not harmful to people or animals. The work is being part-funded and approved by Natural England, the government agency for wildlife conservation.
A new bridge and path has been built over the Beverley Brook close to Robin Hood car park. The bridge links to a path that runs on the edge of the golf course to Chohole Gate on the very eastern tip of the Park. It is due to open in early July and has been funded by Transport for London.
The link will allow cyclists (at 10mph) and walkers access to and through the Park from Roehampton or for golfers to access the new club house from the Park. Dogs will be required to stay on leads and the gate and path will be closed at night.
Ragwort The management of ragwort divides opinion. Whilst there are three types of ragwort that are almost indistinguishable from each other, only Common Ragwort is poisonous to livestock if consumed in large quantities. Horse owners therefore need to eradicate Common Ragwort from grazing land, which is a herculean task if one or two plants are left to spread.
However, in Richmond Park ragwort offers a valuable nectar source where few other large flowers survive the browsing of the deer. The Royal Parks tries to strike a balance by only removing some plants from key locations such as bridleways. Ragwort is valued in the Park but excessive large, dense stands are removed after they have flowered but before they have set seed.
The Isabella Plantation in July
Flowering trees and shrubs Large, late flowering rhododendrons can be found in the south section of the garden, between the stream from the Still Pond and the main central stream. They have pink and white fragrant flowers and include many hybrids of Rhododendron auriculatum.
Many rhododendrons are now producing handsome new leaves. These are often covered with a soft felt layer, which is white or ginger, and known as ‘indumentum’.
In the secluded lawn to the south of Thomson’s Pond the first giant flowers of the Magnolia grandiflora are set amongst glossy evergreen leaves. They have thick fleshy cream petals and a delicious citrus scent.
Clethra barbinervis with its long racemes of white fragrant flowers can be found on the path leading from the Top Gate leading down towards Bluebell Walk, near the entrance to Wilson’s Glade.
Heather garden Look out for the “Button Bush”, Cephalanthus occidentalis, set back from the path leading to the Bog Garden. This shrub bears creamy- white flowers in small globular heads, which are very attractive to butterflies.
Bog garden In the Bog Garden the tall yellow spires of Ligularia przewalskii are set against a backdrop of bamboo, and the Gunnera manicata spreads its giant prickly leaves. Here, and by the streams, many varieties of Hemerocallis, the ‘Day Lily,’ flower amongst iris.
Bell-shaped, fragrant yellow of the “Giant Cowslip”, Primula florindae, show in the marginal bed alongside the decked walkway. The wild flowers of ‘Purple Loosestrife’ and the frothy white blossoms of ‘Meadowsweet’ grow alongside more exotic plantings.
Look out for butterflies visiting the Joe Pye weeds (Eupatorium purpureum) with its stately pinkish purple flowers. Water lilies open on Thomson’s Pond, where dragonflies and damselflies hover and dart over the water on warm still days. Just off the central path look out for the soft pink flowers of the ground cover plant Persicaria affinis ‘Superba’.
The birthday mound Hydrangea quercifolia with its large oak shaped leaves and abundance of frothy white flowers heads can be found putting on an impressive show on the banking surrounding the Red Oak stump.
Foxglove tree glade Hydrangea aspera flowers in the glade set back from the Still Pond. This magnificent large leafed shrub produces large heads of porcelain blue flowers, with a ring of lilac-pink or white ray florets.
Azalea feeding Streamside Azaleas are fed with an organically approved seaweed based feed after flowering to encourage vigour, disease resistance and flower production the following spring.
Lawn creation The gardeners are also busy preparing ground and sowing grass seed in areas of the Plantation where Rhododendron ponticum has been removed before carrying out new planting through the autumn and winter months.